Sunday, January 31, 2010

Asahi Beer Tower and Asahi beer Hall

Asahi building
In the previous post of the Tokyo Sky Tree, I failed to mention the very distinctive buildings framing the new tower. Since completion on 1989, the Asahi Beer Tower and the Asahi Super Dry Beer Hall became one of the most distinctive landmarks on the Asakusa area.

Asahi Hall
The Asahi Beer Tower resembling a gigantic mug of foamy beer, and the Asahi super dry beer hall representing a torch with a golden flame on top, most of the people associate the flame with a very different image though. The beer hall was designed by the ultra famous French designer Philippe Starck (his only architectural design as far as I know), the golden flame on top of the hall is also one of his trademarks motifs.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tokyo Sky Tree, the new Tokyo tower

Tokyo Sky tree construction
A new tower of communication is being constructed in the sumida ward area to cover the new digital television broadcasting that Tokyo tower is not able to cover.

Tokyo Sky tree and Asahi building
Construction of the new tower called Tokyo Sky Tree is in advanced stages, currently standing at 281m (Tokyo Tower is 333m), and is expected to be completed by December of 2011 reaching 634m of height.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myoujin Zuishin gate
The Kanda Myojin shrine in Chiyoda, Tokyo, is a very colorful shrine dedicated to Daikoku sama, Ebisu sama (of the seven gods of fortune), and Taira-no-masakado-sama a samurai enshrined there.

Kanda Myoujin
The shrine is a short walk from Akihabara, and due to the gods of fortune enshrined there, businessman of the area come to pray for prosperity. The famous Kanda festival is held at this temple in the middle of may.

Kanda Myoujin Honden
The Shrine first build in 730 AD has been rebuild many times, the last one in 1934, after being destroyed by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, unlike many historical building, this shrine allows restorations, and thus it always looks brand new.

Kanda Myoujin daikoku sama
In this season there is a huge nawa or rope circle, where worshipers pass through several times to purify themselves.

Official site


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nicholai-do Ortodox Cathedral


The Holy Resurrection Cathedral or Nicholai-do is the main Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in Japan, located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, next to the Ochanomizu station.

This beautiful church designed by the father of Japanese architecture Josiah Condier , based on the original design of Michael A. Schurupov. Completed in 1891, the church was damaged by the great kanto earthquake of 1923 and rebuild with a smaller dome.

Chapel outside nicholai-do
There is a small chapel next to the cathedral decorated with gorgeous Iconography.

Nicholaido entrance
Unfortunately is not permitted to take pictures inside the cathedral, but the stunning interiors were one of the highlights of the visit.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year temple visit at Meiji Jingu

Meiji hatsumode return
Meiji Jingu with 3 million visiting on the first days of the New Year (Hatsumode), is the most visited temple in Japan.

Meiji hatsumode
Hatsumode is the Japanese tradition to visit the temple the first week of the year. Brave souls visit the temple at the first hours of the New Year. I visited a few days later, when it wasn’t so crowded.

Meiji Hatsumode
Meiji Jingu is located in the Shibuya area, next to the Yoyogi park, main entrance is next to harajuku station, which has an access gate for these dates only.

Meji jingu
After a short walk through the Meiji jingo forest, which may take a couple of hours on New Year day, visitors purify themselves at the temizuya next to the front gate. The front gate is a magnificent structure at the entrance to the main yard.

Meiji jingu main hall
After passing the front gate, visitors can access the main hall, on New Year day, there is a large crowd in front of the hall, and police controls the access to the offertory “box”.

New year offerings
The crowds are so large that a huge plastic mat is spread in front of the hall as an offering box, visitors throw coins as offerings.

Meiji amulet office
After leaving the main hall, there is amulet office where amulets and lucky charms can be purchased.
Amulet shoppers at Meiji


Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year preparation on Hachimangu

Hachimangu torii
New Year visit to the temple (Hatsumode) is one of busiest time for temples in Japan.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura is one of the most popular destinations in Japan with over two million visitors.

ninrikisha in Hachimangu
The temple is normally full of visitors on weekends, but it was incredibly not busy in the eve of the New Year.

The temple is normally accessed by the Dankazura approach, the path is lined with cherry trees that can be fully enjoyed in spring.

Hatsumode vendors
The approach before the main shrine is lined with vendors that sell food and souvenirs to temple visitors.

The Main shrine is on top of a terrace accessed by a wide stairway. The shrine is considered an important cultural property by the Japanese government.